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Your Guide to the Best High School Graduation Party Ideas

4/21/2020 by Kyle Greco

Your high school student has worked hard to get that diploma. Now it’s time to help them celebrate! Make graduation party memories that last a lifetime with these excellent ideas. 

Celebrating School Spirit

It’s not a graduation party without some nod to school. Whether your grad is done with the textbooks once and for all, or just taking the next step in their academic career, here’s how to incorporate school spirit into the festivities.

Decorate in a way that celebrates both the past and the present. Grads might think this is corny, but graduation is a time for reflection. And while you probably don’t want to embarrass them on their big day with some sort of speech about this, there are small gestures you can incorporate into the day.

Using school colors is a great way to do this. Decorate the party with the colors of your grad’s alma mater, or the school they are about to attend. There’s no wrong way to go about this; use the colors for your tablecloths, the icing on your desserts, or even as the color of the custom T-shirts you’ll give out as party favors (more on that later). 

Show off their accomplishments. No, you don’t have to frame every A+ test and display it next to the six-foot sub. But there’s no doubt they’ve done so much during their time in school, not to mention their growth as a person. 

Make your party something of an interactive scrapbook, with plenty of pictures recalling fond high school memories. They’re sure to bring out some fantastic stories!

Food Ideas

A key component of any party, delicious food that’s a little outside of the box can take your shindig over the top. Here are some options that will add a special touch to your celebration.

Break out the brunch. With so many of your kid’s friends graduating at the same time, the calendar is going to be chock full of afternoon and evening parties. 

Instead of waiting until August– when the thrill of graduation has worn off and the reality of college has set in– make your party a brunch bash. 

It doesn’t need to be a sit-down-style affair. The food can be buffet-style, with different “bars” for people to prep their brunch the way they want. 

Hang bagels on a pegboard above a table filled with spreads and toppings. Stack donuts into a tower, allowing guests to grab them off the top with one hand (and a coffee in the other). And don’t forget about crepes rolled up and tied like diplomas!

Get creative with catering. You might not be a world-class chef, but you don’t have to be to have a delicious menu at your grad’s party. Caterers know how to feed crowds, and they’re willing to work with you to create dishes the guest of honor will love.

If the price is an issue, consider hosting a joint grad party with the parents of your teen’s friends. That way, you can get their favorite food truck’s fare in the comfort of your own backyard.

Don’t skimp on sweets. Let me keep it real with you– a grad party is no time for health food. Don’t get me wrong, fresh fruit is delicious, and makes a great appetizer or even side dish, but a milestone celebration like this deserves a heaping dose of sugar. 

We’re talking pirouette cookies that look like diplomas, ice cream floats in mason jars (with the lids fashioned into grad caps), and of course, “class” ring pops. The more treats that fit with the graduation, the better!

Making the Party Fun for All

Your college-bound grad (and all of their friends) can expect to answer the same questions 50,000 times during their party.

-“What are you studying?”

-“When do you start?”

-”Did you meet your roommate yet?”

Everyone is just curious, but it can still get a little tiresome. At some point during the festivities, they are going to want to get away from that. Help them out by setting up these activities that everyone can enjoy.

The Games. If you’re having your party outdoors, use all that green space for casual games that can be picked up in an instant. Bocce, ladder golf, and cornhole are all easy to learn, but are fun to play all afternoon long. 

Going indoors doesn’t limit the number of games you can play. Pong (both ping and water varieties), Connect Four, and Pictionary are all great fun. Card games like Apples to Apples and What Do You Meme can be played in big groups. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a video game console or two around for backup. Mario Party, anyone?

DIY Photo Booth. You don’t have to drop a fortune on a rental photo booth in order to have one at your graduation party! Simply set up an iPad with a photo booth app with a plain wall or dark curtain as the backdrop. Lay out a few silly accessories from your local party store for your guests to dress up with. Don’t forget to hang a sign or banner nearby that lets everyone know about it!

Jenga Guest Book. Your guests want to offer their well-wishes to the recent grad. Your grad just wants to relax and maybe not think about the future so much! What to do?

Set up a guest book! Let each guest write their own words of wisdom down for the guest of honor to take with them on their journey through life. Make it a little extra fun by using a Jenga set instead of a normal guestbook. That way, every time they play, they’ll think of friends and family.

A Parting Gift. Everyone should get to go home with a goodie bag. Because everyone’s a little too old for traditional goody bag items (not to mention, they aren’t that great for the environment), go with fewer, bigger gifts– like custom T-shirts for the grads or a take-home box of cupcakes.

A graduation party doesn’t happen too often, so make the most of it!

 

About the Author

Kyle Greco Kyle Greco is the resident writer at RushOrderTees, where he blends word nerdery with his love for T-shirts. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he is interested in exploring the intersection of clothing and culture. In his spare time, he makes music, builds guitars, and cooks with his wife. He enjoys hot dogs, sports, and collecting too many hats.